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How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend

How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend

Experts offer some tips to get the most out of nature's fireworks: Since Perseid meteors can be seen from any direction in the sky, viewers should pick out a dark patch of sky free of light pollution and wait for the meteors to appear.

Keen stargazers may have already spotted one or two streaking meteors since around mid-July when the Perseids started to appear.

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the brightest and most active meteor showers in the lunar calendar. This weekend (August 12-13th) marks the peak period to view the Perseids across all of North America.

The comet that left the Perseid meteor stream is a piece of dirty ice about 26km in diameter called 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

The phenomenon is caused by debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up, appearing as bright streaks of light crossing the sky. This year, the Perseids will peak at 50-70 meteors per hour. "Comets and asteroids leave tiny bits of themselves in the orbital path that they take around the sun". When the Earth's orbit crosses a trail of these particles they can collide with our atmosphere and burn up as shooting stars.

Meteors streak across the night sky during the Orionid meteor shower on October 23, 2016.

In the past, the Perseid showers have produced such spectacular displays that people swamped radio stations with reports of a mysterious light in the sky.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be?

When is the Perseid meteor shower peak?

Where do the Perseids come from?

"Even in towns or cities observed rates may still be around 10 to 20 an hour in the early morning hours when the radiant is high".

To make the best of the meteors, observers should avoid built-up areas and try to find an unobstructed view to the east. However, this year there will be a New Moon the night before the meteor shower peaks, making an appearance just after sunset as a thin crescent, according to The Weather Network.

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